Displaying items by tag: Shark Week

Review: 'Sharks Of Ghost Island'

15 August, 2020

There are a few different types of "Shark Week" specials and one of them can best be described as "kinda interesting shark stuff but we're afraid not interesting enough so we're going to hype the hell out of the danger." The one-hour special "Sharks Of Ghost Island" fits firmly into that category, since it includes both an actual shark-related task (find a number of shark species near an island) with a bunch of random facts & comments designed to make it seem much more dangerous a task to "Shark Week" viewers.

The "Ghost Island" part of the show's title comes from the nickname of The Great Isaac Cay, a Bahaman island located 40 miles east of Miami, Florida on the western edge of the Bermuda Triangle. The intro to the show mentions that it has long been the scene of sightings of large sharks. And besides being in the Bermuda Triangle, it's been abandoned since 1969, after two lighthouse caretakers mysteriously disappeared without a trace. But the mystery part is pretty quickly pushed aside and is really only mentioned to explain why a team of scientists are there. Since there haven't people near the island for decades, the waters surrounding it have become a popular area for creatures of all sizes. And there is a theory that the island has become a popular area for large sharks. But to prove that theory, scientists must discover at least ten species of sharks swimming in the waters near "Ghost Island."

Why ten species? We don't know. If scientists only discover evidence of nine, does that mean the migration theory is incorrect? We don't know. But the "we must find ten species of sharks" sets up a very weird metric for success and leads to a baffling tracking board on the deck of the scientist's ship. The number on the board begins at 0 and is updated baseball game score-style as more sharks are discovered. It just seems a bit contrived and awkward, although the actual looking for sharks footage is often fun to watch.

Like nearly all Shark Week programs, "Sharks Of Ghost Island" tends to treat all species of sharks as potentially dangerous to humans. Even though that clearly isn't always the case. But the real downside of the special is that it doesn't delve more into the mysteries of the island itself, which is rumored to have actual ghosts haunting it.

There's the creepy "Grey Lady," who reportedly haunts the beaches of the island, searching for her son who was the only survivor of a horrific ship disaster. Or the ghost of a young boy who survived being thrown clear of another sinking ship, only to be torn apart by a group of large sharks. And there are those missing caretakers, which is a truly creepy real-life mystery.

Overall, there's nothing wrong with "Sharks Of Ghost Island." There's some interesting footage of sharks and you'll be curious to learn if the scientists do indeed discover ten species of sharks in the area. But the special ultimately feels like a bit of a time filler. Which is useful but maybe not all that entertaining.

"Sharks Of Ghost Island" premiered Saturday, August 15th, 2020 on Discovery.


Movies And Specials: 'Sharks Of Ghost Island'

15 August, 2020

Synopsis: Locals abandoned Ghost Island after multiple shipwrecks and shark attacks. Now, Dr. Craig O'Connell and his team of experts dive in to find out why the island at the edge of the Bermuda Triangle attracts so many sharks -- including the Great White. (Courtesy Discovery, 2020)

The Cast:

Production Credits:

Airdate:
It premiered Saturday, August 15th, 2020 on Discovery.

Review: 'Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef'

09 August, 2020

Complaining that a Shark Week special was promoted in a misleading way is somewhat like being unhappy when drinking beer doesn't make you more attractive. Hype is hype and while there's nothing wrong with it, you shouldn't be surprised if you're misled a bit while you're being entertained.

Based on the promos for the Discovery Shark Week special Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef, you might have thought you were going to see an hour-long battle of the brawn between one of the world's most-recognizable boxers and a massive killer shark. The advertising made for some fun viral moments but all of it has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the actual special. In fact, a more accurate title might have been "Mike Tyson Really Doesn't Like Being In Water." The special in the end is entertaining, albeit in a way that leaves you with the sinking feeling you're been misled.

The special begins with a bunch of hype from someone at the UFC and a boxing match-style introduction that promises a battle for all ages. Which makes it even more jarring when we hear from Mike Tyson. He admits that he doesn't much like water or amphibious creatures and while he won't quite admit to being scared by the prospect of meeting some sharks face-to-face, he's definitely extremely concerned. The plan is for shark experts to take the boxer through three tasks, each with increasing "danger." First, a dive in which Tyson comes face-to-face with some sharks while safely inside a protective shark cage. Then it's a dive to hang with some sharks without a cage, with the final task being surrounded by sharks and then stroking one on the nose until it's put to sleep, a procedure which is called "tonic immobility."

The upside of the special is that Tyson does seem legitimately unnerved by being around sharks. That makes for an entertaining hour of television, even if the closest Tyson gets to "battling" a shark is stroking one on the stout until its immobilized.

It's probably not helpful to wonder just how dangerous these tasks might be in real life. Cynics might suspect that Discovery is not going to take a chance on some shark taking a hunk out of Mike Tyson. And as it turns out, the Caribbean and lemon sharks Tyson interacts with aren't especially dangerous. In fact, these are the types of sharks that are often used in human/shark interaction events. This isn't to say that there was zero danger. But none of this was likely to end up in a "brawl to end all brawls."

Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef is pretty much what you expect from a Shark Week celebrity special. It's entertaining, not especially scientifically accurate, and guaranteed to be the topic of conversation at the office tomorrow if any of us were still going to the office.

How you feel about the special also probably hinges on how you feel about Tyson and his past criminal history. In 1992, he was sentenced to six years in jail after being convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman (he served three). He has also admitted to physically abusing wife Robin Givens during their stormy marriage. In a joint interview with Tyson on 20/20 in September 1988, Givens told Barbara Walters that life with him was "torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine." By all accounts, Tyson has his anger under control now. But whether you're willing to give him a second chance will have a lot to say about whether or not you want to see him cavorting with sharks.

Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef premieres on Sunday, August 9th, 2020 as part of the kick-off night of Discovery's Shark Week 2020.